I Heart Cheese: A Cookbook: 60 Ooey, Gooey, Delicious Meals for Serious Cheese Lovers, written by Mihaela Metaxa-Albu, features an incredible variety of recipes all focused on cheese.
A few highlights include Pancetta-Wrapped Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Brie Rosemary Potato Bake, Stilton-Stuffed Sweet Potato Boats, Cheesy Chicken Croquettes with Sharp Cheddar, and Grana Padano Beef Meatballs in Tomato Sauce. I will also be sharing her recipe for Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes following the review.
Disclosure: I received this book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for my honest review. All opinions and statements are my own. This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, I may receive a small commission at no extra charge to you.
Mihaela Metaxa-Albu is a chef and recipe author. She studied Culinary Arts at Southgate College and got a Chef’s Diploma, then worked as a pastry chef at Zuma and Ottolenghi in London.
Mihaela created her food blog, Blondelish, as a way to combine her skills in photography, videography, and culinary arts with a focus on “healthy recipes that are easy to make, requiring nothing more than some basic cooking skills, quick preparation and affordable ingredients.” This is her first cookbook.
I Heart Cheese
I Heart Cheese begins with a short introduction before jumping into the recipes. You will learn about Mihaela’s background and how she developed a “love for cheese in all of its forms.” For those new to working with cheese, each section gives a basic overview to help get started along with plenty of tips.
The chapters are divided based on types of cheese:
- Burrata, Mozzarella, Ricotta & Cream Cheese
- Brie, Feta & Goat Cheese
- Stilton, Roquefort & Gorgonzola
- Gouda, Gruyère, Cheddar, Halloumi & Provolone
- Parmigiano-Reggiano, Grana Padano & Pecorino Romano
- Mix & Match
The contents also have a list of the included recipes in each chapter with page number for easy reference.
The photography is provided by Mihaela’s Yum Creative. Every single recipe is paired with a beautifully styled full page photo of the finished dish.
Titles are written in English. Measurements are listed in US Customary and Metric. Each recipe includes a headnote with background information, prep time, cook time, serving size, and helpful tips.
Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes
Everything we tried from I Heart Cheese was wonderful, but the Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes were a particular hit with the kids. They also come together easily with only 10 minutes of prep. I especially love the fluffy texture from the addition of the ricotta.
Eggs are whisked with milk, sugar, ricotta, vanilla, and orange zest, then combined with a flour mixture to form the batter. Chocolate chips are folded in last before heating in a skillet until golden and set on each side.
Serve the pancakes immediately with the following optional toppings: honey, butter, maple syrup, agave syrup, walnuts, pecans, and/or hazelnuts.
Claire opted to cover her Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes with unicorn sprinkles, because of course sprinkles make everything better.
I used a store-bought whole milk ricotta, but Mihaela has a recipe for homemade ricotta in the book that I hope to try soon.
I also made the Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese, Avocado and Gouda-Stuffed French Toast, Smoky Mac & Cheese, and Cheese Mushroom Skillet.
The Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Bacon and Goat Cheese is such a great and colorful seasonal salad. Sweet potatoes are coated in a seasoned maple syrup mixture and baked until tender, then tossed with bacon, greens, pomegranate seeds, and goat cheese. It is served with a light maple dressing which brings together the flavors so well.
I usually pair French toast with more sweet flavors, but absolutely loved the savory combination in this Avocado and Gouda-Stuffed French Toast. Before coating in the egg mixture and pan-frying, the bread is filled with sliced avocados, Gouda, and a caramelized onion relish. It was such a perfect start to the day.
There are a couple of macaroni and cheese recipes and I was immediately drawn to the Smoky Mac & Cheese. The pasta is tossed in a creamy sauce packed with smoky Cheddar and smoked paprika, topped with seasoned breadcrumbs, and baked until golden. Mihaela recommends pairing it with barbecued meat.
The Cheese Mushroom Skillet has both Parmesan and Gruyère cheese! After sautéing the mushrooms and simmering in a garlicky cream mixture, the cheese is folded in to create quite the decadent sauce. It also comes together in less than 30 minutes!
I Heart Cheese is an excellent choice for those interested in using cheese in a variety of fun and flavorful ways. The recipes range through any time of day with a great assortment of quick and easy meals (often in less than 30 minutes!), plus restaurant style dishes perfect for a date night at home with minimal effort.
Most of the ingredients are readily available in the average American grocery store. A few items that may require further searching include pancetta, burrata, coconut flour, pink peppercorns, hazelnuts, halloumi cheese, and arborio rice.
Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes Recipe
Excerpt from I Heart Cheese
Chocolate Chip Ricotta Pancakes
- 2 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups (360 milliliters) milk
- 1/3 cup (40 grams) powdered sugar
- 8 ounces (226 grams) whole milk ricotta cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (8 milliliters) vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (3 grams) orange zest
- 2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch sea salt
- 3/4 cup (126 grams) chocolate chips
- Coconut oil cooking spray
- Maple syrup or Agave syrup
- Walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts
- In a medium bowl, combine the eggs with the milk, sugar, ricotta cheese, vanilla and orange zest. Whisk until well combined.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour and add the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Stir lightly to combine.
- Gradually whisk the ricotta mixture into the dry ingredients until a smooth batter is formed. Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Lightly spray with coconut oil.
- Pour in about 1/3 cup (80 milliliters) of the batter. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until bubbles appear on the surface.
- Gently flip the pancake over and cook for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Remove the pancake from the skillet and set aside on a plate. Repeat with the remaining batter and cover the cooked pancakes as you go to keep them warm.
- Divide the pancakes and stack them on individual plates. Add the toppings of your choice.